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Step by Step Guide to Getting your Learner's Permit and License

Step 1 - Obtaining Driver Education Certificate of Completion

Take a driving education course that will earn you a DMV-approved Certificate of Completion. This Certificate is required in order for you to obtain a DMV Learner's Permit. Driver Education and Driver Training courses must be conducted as prescribed by the Department of Education. Driver Education must consist of at least 30 hours or 2 1/2 semester periods of professional classroom instruction. 

Classroom driver education, will be offered on Saturdays at both the MiraCosta College Oceanside Campus, and San Elijo Cardiff Campus. We’ll also be offering Tuesday/Thursday afternoon classes at El Camino High School and Monday/Wednesday class at La Costa Canyon High School.  Upon completion of classroom driver education you will receive a “pink” completion slip (DL387). This is one of the forms you will need to get your learner’s permit when you turn 15 ½.

Step 2 - Sign up for Behind-the-Wheel Training

This part of the training is for those students who are under 18 years of age, and have taken classroom driver education. Once you have completed the classroom or on-line driver education course and receive your certificate of completion, you can go to the DMV to take your written permit test.

After you get your permit you can call 760-795-6825 to enroll in behind the wheel training.  The cost of the program is $293, and consists of three days of driving, two hours per day for a total of six hours of one-on-one training.  We do this training at Carlsbad, El Camino, La Costa Canyon, and Rancho Buena Vista High School’s, here at MiraCosta College in Oceanside and at our San Elijo campus.  The hours are after school and evenings, and could include weekend days.

After completing the driver-training program you will receive a “blue” completion slip (DL388A).  You will be handed this after your last Behind-the-Wheel lesson. This is the other form you will use to get your license when you are eligible to take your driving test.

Step 3 - Practice for the written DMV test (optional)

Step 4 - Scheduling the DMV appointment (Optional)

In order to save time, call a Driver's License field office near you and make an appointment to take the written test. DMV offices have varying business hours and days of service. Many offices are open for full service from 8:00 am to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays). You may check the DMV schedule and also schedule an appointment online.

Step 5 - What to bring and what to expect at the DMV office (Must be 15 1/2 to apply for permit)

Be prepared and bring identification documents, as well as:

Driver Education and Driver Training Form Requirements

If you are 15 ½ to 17 ½ years of age, you will need to provide a:

OR

NOTE:If your driver education and driver training were taken in a state other than California, DMV will accept either a

An out-of-state driving instructional permit is not acceptable proof of driver education and driver training.

If you are over 17 ½ but under 18 years of age, you may get your permit without the driver education and driver training certificates however, you will not be able to take the driving test until you turn 18.

Once you pass your written test, you will be issued a provisional permit.   You cannot drive with your parent/guardian until you have had one behind the wheel lesson with a certified instructor.

A parent, guardian, spouse or adult 25 years of age or older, who has a valid California driver license, must be with you when you drive. He or she must sit in a position close enough to take control of the vehicle, if necessary. It is illegal for you to drive alone at any time.

Step 6 - Upon completion of the DMV test

After you pass the written test:

Before being eligible to take your driving test you must:

AND

AND

AND

AND

To take your driving test, you will need to:

After you pass your driving test you will be issued an interim license valid for 60 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1-800-777-0133 to check on the status. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.

If you fail your driving test, you must wait two weeks before you can take the test again. You have three chances to pass.

If driver education and driver training were taken in a state other than California, DMV will accept either a To Secondary Schools Other Than California Schools form DL 33 completed by the out-of state school, or a letter on the out-of state school’s stationery signed by a school official stating that the courses are equivalent to California’s requirements. Instructional permits issued by another state are not acceptable proof.

Step 8 - After the Driving Test

Provisional Driving Restrictions—You must be accompanied and supervised by a licensed parent, guardian or other licensed driver 25 years of age or older or a licensed or certified driving instructor when you:

New DMV Laws

Many new teen laws have been in effect since July 1, 1998.  Under the new law, teens with a learner’s permit will have to wait six months, and have 50 hours of supervised driving practice, 10 of them at night, before applying for their license.  When a student goes to DMV for their actual driver’s license, parents will sign a form verifying their teen has fulfilled this requirement. For the first six months after obtaining their actual license, the teen must be accompanied by a parent, or driver, 25 years of age or older, when transporting passengers under the age of 20.  Also for the first year, a teen cannot drive between 12 midnight and 5:00 a.m. without a licensed driver, 25 years of age or older. Exceptions would include work, school, medical and family necessities.  Since implementing these new laws, statistics have shown that the number of teenage traffic deaths has declined by 20%. 

On January 1, 2004, a new law went into effect.  Students must now be 15 ½ years of age to get their learner’s permit.  You can still take classroom driver education if you are 15, but will have to wait until you turn 15 ½ before going to the DMV for your learner’s permit. 

As of January 1, 2006, a new law changes the length of time for two restrictions on your driver license, if you are under 18 years of age:

For a period of 12 months, you may not transport passengers under age 20 unless you are accompanied by a parent, guardian, instructor or licensed driver over the age of 25, and you may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

To determine if these restrictions apply to you, look at the date on your driver license. The date printed just to the left of your photograph is the date these restrictions begin. The new restrictions apply for 12 months following this date. For example: If the date on your license is May 7, 2005, you will have the above restrictions through May 7, 2006. Violation of either restriction can result in a fine and/or community service.

Wireless Telephones and Mobile Service Devices — Operative July 1, 2008

Amend and Add: Vehicle code §§12810.3, 23123, and 23124 (SB 33 Chapter 214)

Smoking in Vehicles With Minor Passengers

Add: Health and Safety Code Article 2.5 to chapter 4 of Part 15 of Division 104. Amend: Vehicle Code §12814.6 (SB 7 Chapter 425)

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ’S for PROVISIONAL LEARNER'S PERMIT CLASS C (UNDER 18)

Q. How long must I have my learner's permit if I am under 18?
A. You must maintain your learner's permit for a minimum of 6 months before you can get you license.

Q. How old must I be to take driver education and behind- the-wheel classes?
A. You must be 15 years old to take driver education classes and 15 1/2 years old to take behind- the-wheel classes.

Q. How old must I be to apply for a learner's permit?
A. Minimum age is 15 1/2 years old.

Q. What are the restrictions or provisions put on my learner's permit?
A. You must be accompanied and supervised by a licensed parent, guardian or other licensed driver 25 years of age or older or a licensed or certified driving instructor when you:

Q. When I go down to apply for my learner's permit, what do I need to take with me?

A. Be prepared and bring identification documents, as well as:

Q. What type of test does the DMV require you to take to get your learner's permit?
A. A 46 question written quiz. You need to get 39 correct. If you do not pass, you must wait one week before taking another test.  You also have to take a vision test.

Q. Is it possible to obtain a learner's permit without taking a driver education class?
A. You may apply for a learner's permit at the age of 17 1/2, but you will not be issued a license until you either take a driver education course, or turn 18 years of age.

Q. Do I have to apply for my learner's permit at the DMV closest to my house?
A. You may apply for a learner's permit at any DMV in the State of California.

Q. What's the best source of study material to prepare for the learner's permit test?
A. California Driver Handbook, and materials issued to you by your driving school.

Q. When I obtain my learner's permit, is it legal for me to begin driving right away?
A. Before driving, you must first take one driving lesson with a professional driving instructor. This lesson validates your permit.

Q. Do my parents or guardian always have to be with me when I drive?
A. You may drive with anyone who is 25 years of age or older, with a valid California license only with your parents' permission.

Q. How long is my learner's permit good for?
A. One year.


Q. Is it OK to drive with my learner's permit in another state?
A. As long as you have someone with you 25 years of age or older.

Q. With my learner's permit can I drive with my friends in the car?
A. Yes, as long as you have someone with you who is 25 years of age or older with a valid California driver's license.

Q. Do I always have to carry my learner's permit?
A. Yes, if you are driving.

Q. If I fail my learner's permit test, do I have to pay another $31?
A. No, you are able to take it three times for $31.

Q. If I lose my learner's permit, will I have to pay for a new one?
A. No, you may obtain a copy from your local DMV.

Q. Is it OK to drive with a learner's permit after dark?
A. You may drive anytime day or night as long as you have a licensed driver 25 years of age or older with you.